People & Places – Sunbeam Steward Jillian

People & Places – Sunbeam Steward Jillian

Jillian at home.

CHERRYFIELD, ME – My name is Jillian. I am the Steward on the Maine Seacoast Mission’s beloved Sunbeam, a job I love. To steward is a pleasing verb meaning to look after. I am proud of the title. As steward, I am responsible for stocking the boat with food and provisions for our trips to islands. Besides making meals for my mateys and guests, and welcoming visitors, I keep things tidy, and bake a lot of cookies.

There are so many Maine spots so close to me I cherish. The many hiking and skiing trails on our road endlessly entertain us. There’s the neighborhood swimming hole on balmy summer days. Behind our house we love to explore the Narraguagus River in canoes and kayaks in summer; on foot, skates, skis and snowshoes when the river is frozen.

My favorite place in Maine is central to all these options: our house. When we aren’t out playing in nature, I especially love being home, making art in my studio, growing vegetables in the dooryard, homestead chores, feeding the wood stove, puttering with Steve, and playing with our pets, Banana and Clarence.

I call our house my recycled castle because my partner, Steve, built it with reclaimed materials. It is a timber framed salt box, a work in progress since 2003.

For beams and lumber Steve dismantled the historic old Cherryfield Grange. He started that project in the fall, with instructions to have the big building gone before April.

While dismantling, Steve found an 1823 coin under the threshold, an old construction dating custom. Some Grange timbers were even older and had notches from earlier use. Reusing these big old beautiful timbers Steve and our friend, Tim, put up the post-and-beam frame in the fall of 2004. We moved in the summer of 2005, racing to hang insulation before winter set in.

That first year we didn’t have staircases between the floors, and we hauled water from the neighbor’s hand pump well.

Steve still has a keen eye for building supplies he can glean and utilize for our house. He turned old hand carved doors and pressed tin into paneling. Over the years we’ve scored parquet flooring for our grand foyer, (aka wood stove room), old light fixtures, railings from a church, ceramic tiles, and glass doors. Our bay window was a floor model at a store. Steve turned a bowling alley lane into our kitchen counter.

Creating our space as we go, and as building fodder presents itself, is fun and gratifying. I don’t think Steve will ever call our house finished. He is now working on a screened-in porch using lumber made out of trees felled on our land, planed at our friend Sam’s mill. For the screening he will use panels from someone’s old gazebo. Steve jokes that it is time to remodel. I say, “Honey, I love our cozy nest. Our recycled castle is already done enough for me.”

But, boy, it sure will be nice to have a screened-in porch. It can get ridiculously buggy here tucked in the woods!

Learn more about the Sunbeam and crew.

Apples for Frenchboro’s Teacher

Apples for Frenchboro’s Teacher

NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME – This photo from Jillian, taken in the Sunbeam salon, is “a picture of Laura Venger, teacher at the K-8 Frenchboro School on Frenchboro island. She is delighted to receive a bag of apples from Island Outreach Director Douglas Cornman for a school project.”

As an aside, it’s nice to see the Mission’s Summer 2021 issue of The Bulletin in the wall wooden magazine rack. You can download or read it online here.

DETOP – Fresh Food, Piano, and Dish Angels

DETOP – Fresh Food, Piano, and Dish Angels

Photos and Story by Jillian

CHERRYFIELD, ME – Oh boy, what a fresh, delectable meal we had Sunday at our beloved Downeast Table of Plenty. Zabet, Morgan and Matt fed us in style. The supper had Latin leanings. Everyone raved about it while eating.

Most of the produce was donated from Folklore Farm and their personal gardens.

I learned about two delicious Mexican culinary herbs used in dishes served: papalo and pipicha. Papalo tastes a bit like cilantro and Pipicha tastes akin to fresh coriander with overtones of lemon and anise.

After readying the dining room, Loraine and I ran to The Incredible Edible garden to pick up cilantro for the supper. If you have yet to visit this “If it’s ripe, pick it” community garden in Milbridge, you are missing out.

Mark entertaining us thru open doors while we dined outside. Tessa who is often a big kitchen help, likes to play piano while we clean up after the meal. Dish angels last week were Aaron, David, Steve and Matt.

Everyone Loves Bernie and Billy

Everyone Loves Bernie and Billy

Billy and Bernie. (Photo by Jillian.)

ISLE AU HAUT, ME – Thank you to Jillian for this joyful profile of two longstanding Mission friends.

“It is absolutely wonderful to have Bernie and Billy back aboard the Sunbeam. They are Isle au Haut’s matriarch and patriarch of the Barter family, with four generations spending time on the island these days.

“Billy grew up on Isle au Haut. He and Bernie married young and have been sweet on each other ever since. Billy tells great stories. He can barely get out a joke punch line before laughing himself.

“Bernie has always been a fashionista. She loves prints, velvet, colorful jewelry and big boots. She also loves volleyball and town parades.

“Last week, Sunbeam Engineer Storey helped Bernie tune her new pink guitar during our visit to Isle au Haut. Bernie wants to learn to play.

“Billy still lobsters some with his son and has gotten into baking, making fine pies. I ate one of his squash cookies with chocolate chips. Yum.

“I love Bernie and Billy. Everyone does!”

Sunbeam Salon Alive with Guests, Food, Laughter

Sunbeam Salon Alive with Guests, Food, Laughter

NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — Sunbeam Steward Jillian sent her photo of Sunbeam visitors and crew playing “our favorite boat game, Uno Stacko. Uno Stacko is essentially a marriage of the balance game Jenga and the card game Uno. Playing on a boat adds an extra element of breath holding as towers grow precariously.

“Thanks to Diane Barter for giving us hours of fun. Before moving, years ago, Diane, left her game collection with the Sunbeam when she moved years ago.

“Also, after eating strawberry rhubarb pie, artist Steve Costanza regaled us with card tricks in the Sunbeam salon,” said Jillian.

Learn more about the Sunbeam’s work.